Night Time Yoga for a Good Night’s Sleep By Zofia Karubin
oga can be done at anytime and it’s especially good to do yoga poses before bed, because it will help you fall asleep and get a good night’s rest. When you do yoga, your body has a chance to release stress, toxins, and tension. Sometimes we have so much stress in our lives that it’s hard to fall asleep because our mind is restless and our breath is shallow. By doing a few simple poses we’re able to calm the mind, relax the body, and deepen the breath. Yoga will help you become more at peace with yourself, with your life, and the world around you. Having more peace internally will help you create more peace externally and handle all life’s challenges with ease. Breath is one of the most important aspects of yoga. When the breath is calm and deep, this tells the mind and body that all is well and you are safe. When the breath is shallow, your body and brain don’t get enough oxygen and it puts your entire system on alert and this may cause anxiety. Holding your breath may also cause your muscles and tendons to strain when stretching. That’s why it’s important to focus on the breath and breathe deeply when doing yoga to oxygenate your body and brain. Deep yogic breathing will also purify the blood and this keeps you healthy and strong. Be sure you’re breathing clean fresh air especially when doing yoga. As you do each yoga pose, move very gently in slow motion as this will help you become more aware of your muscles, tendons, bones, and the energy flowing through your body. 70 | womenssurfstyle.com | wSSm
Photography by Marysia Karubin
So don’t force anything, don’t hold your breath, and don’t hold on to any tension. Just let go and allow all thoughts to just pass you by, and stay focused on your inhalation and exhalation. Remember to always inhale as you lift up and exhale as you release down. The inhalation will energize you and the exhalation will help you become more and more relaxed. After doing the entire sequence once- you’ll feel great. If you choose to repeat it again, (3 – 6 times), you’ll be able to go even deeper into each pose, therefore you’ll feel even better. Enjoy each pose and feel it completely as you allow your body to ease into every “asana” yoga pose.
Belly Breathing (Pictured above)
1) Find a quiet place to lay down on a yoga mat, towel, or blanket. Lie down on your back, bend the knees, feet flat on the floor, shoulders relaxed down, and place the hands on the belly. 2) Lengthen the spine into the floor. Listen to the breath and feel the breath -- it sounds a lot like the waves of the ocean. 3) On the inhalation, allow the belly to expand first, then the rib cage, and then the chest. 4) When you are ready, exhale slowly and reverse it. Feel the chest release down first, then the rib cage, and then the belly. Continue for 15 breaths.
Benefits: Calms the body, mind, and spirit, while releasing tension and stress. Helps you get in touch with yourself.
(Apanasana – variation)
1) Laying flat on your back, bring the right knee to the chest, and keep the shoulders relaxed down. Left leg is straight on the floor and the foot is flexed. 2) Breathe deeply and on each exhalation bring the knee in closer to the chest using your arm and chest muscles. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the spine extended on the floor. 3) Continue for 10 deep breaths, and when ready, repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Massages internal organs and tones the abdominal muscles. Detoxifies the body, increases flexibility in the lower back and hips and strengthens the arm and chest muscles.
Leg Up / Ankle Rotation / Forehead-to-Knee
(Padangusthasana - variations)
1) Lying on your back, lift the right leg straight up, and grab the back of your thigh. Next, rotate the ankle 5 times in each direction. Keep breathing. Send the breath into the leg, ankle, and foot. 2) Walk the hands up the leg till you reach the ankle. As you inhale lift the head up and bring the forehead to the knee. Hold this pose for as long as comfortable for 5 – 10 breaths. The more you breathe deeply the more you’ll enjoy the stretch. 3) As you exhale, roll down very slowly and stretch your body in opposite directions. Repeat with the left leg. Benefits: Increases flexibility in the ankles, ham strings, hips, and shoulders. Strengthens, tones, and stretches the abdomen, arms, and the entire body. Continued on next page...
wSSm | womenssurfstyle.com | 71
(Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) 1) Lying on your back, arms at your sides, bend the knees, and bring the feet flat on the floor- next to the buttocks. 2) Inhale, bring the arms up and over the head and to the floor as you arch the pelvis up. Rest on your shoulders and not the neck. Look at the belly as it expands with the inhalation and collapses with the exhalation. Hold the pose for 5 breaths and roll down slowly as you exhale. Repeat 5 times very slowly. Benefits: Stimulates the thyroid for balancing the metabolism. Strengthens and stretches the spine. Stretches the pelvis and releases menstrual tension. Brings energy and blood to the brain.
Knees-to-Chest / Rock from Sideto-Side (Apanasana – variation)
1) Bring the knees to the chest, each hand on each knee, and roll from side to side very slowly. Pushing off with the upper arm on each side. Rolling up as you inhale and roll to the other side as you exhale. Rolling from side to side with your whole body including your head. Feel the massaging motion on the entire back. Rock back and forth 10 times as you breathe deeply, then release slowly and relax completely. Benefits: Massages and releases tension in the entire back, hips, and head. Stimulates the kidneys.
Final Relaxation (Savasana)
1) Bring the legs and arms out gently to the side with palms facing up. Inhale and contract all your muscles and exhale as you relax your body completely. Roll the head from side to side. Close your eyes and bring the focus to the point between the eyebrows. Soften the belly and the face. Visualize yourself floating to the bottom of the ocean. Follow the breath as it naturally flows in and out -- going deeper into relaxation with every breath. Relax deeply for 5 minutes. Benefits: Deep relaxation helps restore your balance and vitality.
Photography by Marysia Karubin
Namaste: My Inner Light Bows to Your Inner Light Zofia Karubin first started doing yoga when she was a little girl with her mother who is also a yoga teacher. Teaching yoga is Zofia’s passion, she has been teaching Yoga for children, teens, and adults for about 10 years throughout Los Angeles. She is now publishing a book for surfers “Surfboard Yoga Warm-Up” with lifelong surfer, Erik Nordskog. The book will be available in the near future. Visit Zofia at http://www.myspace.com/yogawithzofia | Look in the next issue of WSSM for more yoga poses by Zofia Karubin 72 | womenssurfstyle.com | wSSm